Thursday, December 10, 2015

In short: Puppet Master II (1990)

Another group of doomed psychic researchers – though these are government-sponsored parapsychologist – visit the house of Toulon (Steve Welles), maker of living puppets to find out if there’s any truth to the insane gibbering of the last survivor of the first film. Little do they expect that the puppets have revived Toulon, who now roams the house bundled up like the Invisible Man. To keep his puppets alive, the puppet master needs them to collect glands (or whatever, but glands are the traditional thing to collect in such a case) from human brains. He’d rather prefer his puppets to harvest the stuff from outside his home, but the area isn’t exactly populated, and the puppets are not terribly good at keeping brain parts unroasted (which is what happens when you build a flamethrower into one of your dolls and send it out brain-gathering, I suppose, therefore Toulon only has himself to blame), so the researchers are still doomed.

Things become a bit more complicated when Toulon decides the research team’s leader Carolyn (Elizabeth Maclellan) is the reincarnation of his dead wife Elsa. Look, Toulon, bandages don’t make you a mummy!
I don’t think the second of many, many Puppet Master films of Charles Band’s puppet obsessed outfit Full Moon is as fun as the first one, but we are still at a point in time here when Band productions were at least trying to be actually entertaining films in the classic low budget tradition. Consequently, director David Allen (despite being more of an effects guy than a filmmaker in his own right for most of his career) delivers a decent little horror movie that – for my tastes – could use a bit more of the spirited weirdness of the first film (no stuffed poodle here, that’s for sure) but that’s working the few assets it has – a decent cast, puppets – as hard as financially viable.

There are certainly far worse ways to while away ninety minutes than with this variation of various mummy films, but with killer dolls. And because the cruel and uncaring universe had a pretty good day when it caused Puppet Master II to happen, it ends on a final scene so loveably bizarre I can’t help but approve of the whole Puppet Master endeavour up to this point despite my general annoyance with Charles Band as doll movie impresario on account of it.

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